A look back at the return to the workplace at PCH – September 25, 2020

Monday, September 21 was the first day of returning to the workplace at Canadian Heritage for nearly 200 employees participating in the gradual reintegration process. The members of this first cohort participated in an orientation session and were given a personal kit containing two reusable masks and a touch pencil.

We would like to thank the many artisans who helped provide a safe environment to all of the Department's offices where the employees of the first cohort returned. It was a great success!

Guide for a safe reintegration

We are pleased to announce that the Guide for a safe reintegration into the workplace in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic is now available on our intranet and on Canada.ca. This guide, which serves as mandatory training, is intended to inform all PCH staff of the new security protocols implemented in our work environments now adapted to the new reality. It also contains links to useful resources and practical tips.

Although the vast majority of you will continue to work remotely, we want everyone to read the entire guide and sign the attestation form at the end of it as soon as possible, so that we all have a common understanding of this new reality in our buildings. It is essential that all employees are aware of the guidelines and follow them as soon as they are in the workplace, whether it is to work on a regular basis or to retrieve equipment.

Numerous technological initiatives

In an ongoing effort to ensure the health and safety of all employees, we are also working to implement an automated mechanism to manage requests for access to PCH offices while respecting building occupancy limits. Stay tuned for more news on this soon!

In the meantime, please note that we maintain access restrictions to departmental buildings to ensure your health and safety at all times in the workplace. Until further notice, we are therefore asking employees who were not part of the first reintegration cohort to obtain the approval of their Assistant Deputy Minister / Direct Report before accessing the PCH offices.

For the majority of employees for whom working remotely remains the norm, and until further notice, we also have good news. As announced by our Chief Information Officer, open Internet now allows you to access the Internet from your PCH computer without having to connect to the network remotely. This allows you to watch videos, attend Zoom calls and use social media without harming the network.

Also in an effort to improve the efficiency of working remotely, please note that all employees who do not currently have a PCH-supplied cell phone can now obtain one (voice and text only) by filling out an application through the Digital Workspace.

A constantly evolving approach

As the number of cases of COVID-19 increases in many parts of the country, it is essential to remain alert to public health measures to limit the spread of the virus. We encourage you to consult these prevention and risk mitigation measures.

It goes without saying that we are closely monitoring the recent developments of the pandemic. As previously mentioned, we are ready to continue the reintegration process, but also to adjust our approach by slowing, stopping or reversing the process, based on the guidelines issued by the Public Health Agency of Canada, local authorities and the Treasury Board Secretariat. Your health and safety remain at the heart of the Executive Committee's discussions and guide each of our decisions.

Finally, we thank you for your understanding, flexibility and resilience during this challenging time. All of you are essential to the Department's ability to adapt to this complex and ever-changing situation!

In closing, we would like to remind you of mental health support resources including Office of Values and Ethics resourcesTreasury Board Secretariat online resources and the Employee Assistance Program.

Hélène Laurendeau
Deputy Minister
Canadian Heritage

Gina Wilson
Deputy Minister, Diversity and Inclusion and Youth, and
Senior Associate Deputy Minister for Canadian Heritage

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